How a Kindergarten Transition Program in Arizona has Helped Prepare Disadvantaged Students for Kindergarten

For a number of years, education leaders, community leaders, and families across Northern Arizona have been focused on ways to improve school readiness among the area’s neediest children. An array of public agencies and non-profit community-based organizations, including the Coconino County Office of the Superintendent, First Things First, and the United Way of Northern Arizona, have worked collaboratively to build and support early childhood initiatives that support school readiness.

One such early education initiative is the Kindergarten Transition Program, also known as “KinderCamp.” It’s a five-week (four days per week, 20 days total) summer pre-kindergarten program designed to help children with little or no preschool experience become prepared for kindergarten. It seeks to increase readiness by developing skills in the areas of literacy, academics, and social-emotional development.

ASR assessed the school readiness levels of 500 students from across Coconino County using the ©Kindergarten Observation Form, and the findings showed that KinderCamp students displayed a higher Social Expression skillset than their classmates with similar backgrounds who had not participated in the program. Specifically, KinderCamp students displayed greater abilities to relate and communicate thoughts and feelings clearly and appropriately, to express empathy and curiosity and to engage in symbolic or imaginative play. This data will also be presented in the upcoming Coconino Community Education Report.

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